Jordan's King swears in new Cabinet

King Abdullah II has sworn in a trim cabinet line-up of 19 members led by reformist Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur, who merged several portfolios to cut spending but failed to satisfy opposition Islamists.

The new government, the smallest in Jordan in more than four decades, comprises 14 newcomers including a woman.

The key interior ministry changed hands but veteran diplomat Nasser Judeh remains at the helm of the foreign ministry for the sixth time in a row.

Earlier this month, the king reappointed Nsur following unprecedented consultations between the palace and the 150-member parliament, tasking him to form his second government since October.

Nsur told Jordan Television after the ceremony that he plans to reshuffle his cabinet to include MPs as part of the parliamentary government "experience."

"This government was born after consultations with deputies who will be part of the government in the coming months as part of the parliamentary government experience. We want this to succeed in order to boost reform," he said.

Police chief Hussein Majali, who enjoys a good reputation for not using excessive force against pro-reform protesters, was given the ministries of interior and municipal affairs.

"The goal of forming such a trim cabinet is to cut government spending," said Mohammad Momani, a university professor who was handed the information ministry as well as the ministries of political development and parliamentary affairs.

"This government has the smallest ministerial team since 1967."

The Muslim Brotherhood, the main opposition group which boycotted the January 23 general election, said the new government will not be able to introduce change.

- AFP

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